New York should learn what not to do from Venice
The city's excellent mayor needs to be made aware of the incompetence so far as the protection of Venice from the waters is concerned
By Anna Somers Cocks. Web only
Published online: 18 October 2013
My breath has been taken away by the news that Mayor Orsoni has been in New York this week to meet Mayor Bloomberg to share ideas about how to deal with climate change.
I hope New York's excellent mayor will be made aware that this is the tally of incompetence so far as the protection of Venice from the waters is concerned:
• nearly 40 years since the much needed mobile flood barrier scheme was announced, expected to be finished in 2012, then 2014, now 2016;
• decades of vicious political wrangling over whether to to build them or not;
• near doubling of their cost to €5.9 billion (at present estimate);
• total lack of transparency on the part of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova, the group of Italian companies to whom the building of the barriers was delegated by government, about the problems they encountered while building the barriers, and all aspects of accounting;
• the president and six members of the board of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova currently under house arrest, charged with collusive tendering and false invoicing, and two directors of the firm that is making the hinges of the barriers arrested for similar practices with the firm of a Mafia boss, Ciccio La Rocca;
• no plan for how the future maintenance of the mobile barriers is going to be managed and financed;
• no organisation with clearly defined powers to plan the protection of Venice from chronic sea level rise, a separate problem from the acute flooding events.
I sincerely hope that Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York will observe Orsoni and the Venice experience to learn how not to do it.
Anna Somers Cocks, former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund
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